Oliver Sacks: I still go to the hospital. About 34 years ago, when I went there in ’66, as soon as I entered the hospital, I was struck by strange, motionless, transfixed figures, some of them in very odd positions, standing in the lobby and the passages. I had never seen anyone like this. I’d seen catatonic patients on the back wards, but this was obviously something different. And I was very amazed and horrified when I found that some of these patients had been there for 30 or 40 years — the hospital had been opened in 1920 for these first victims of the epidemic “sleepy sickness,” the encephalitis lethargica — and that medicine and surgery apparently could do nothing for these patients and that, further, many of them had been dumped there by their relatives, or their relatives had died, and in effect, they had been abandoned and had been out of the world for decades. I had never really heard of this sort of situation. There’d been very few accounts of such patients, although one account referred to them rather dismissively as “extinct volcanoes.” But you know, the nurses and others who knew them well — and I came to feel this myself — were convinced that there were intact minds and personalities inside these petrified bodies.